Starting Research for Boat Choice


3 years ago I made the mistake of buying a Raider II Turbo. Great boat, but too athletic for me at 70 y.o. 
I want to be able to go out solo, or take a few others. One possibility is a used Sonar. But I would prefer  a non-keeled, lighter and smaller boat. Obviously, I want something not too physically demanding, though I am in good shape for 73. 
I do like speed, however. My only previous boat, long, long ago was a Dyas. 23 foot keel boat with a trapeze from Germany. 
I think one possibility would be an RSVenture, and I would welcome comments on that or any other comparable boats. 
I hope this is not too vague a request. Thanks to all, John



I am near Lake Champlain. 
Budget completely flexible. 
Don’t care about racing, but open to trying it.  
I dry-sailed the Raider, but would moor it if that made more sense. 
I should also add that an 18-20’ lifting keel would also be a possibility. 
I hope that does not confuse things too much.

 Thanks for your reply and questions.


European Bloke

Super Anarchist
 But I would prefer  a non-keeled, lighter and smaller boat.

I do like speed, however.

I think one possibility would be an RSVenture
RSVenture. Little speed, a lot of weight.

How much weight can you put up with i.e. what's your launching plan, and how much speed do you want?

If you're open to a mooring, how about Flying 15?

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It seems like there's definitely an untapped market for a singlehand-able big dinghy that can carry a few friends, there have been 3-4 threads asking for something similar.

RS Venture is pretty big, RS Quest is probably more manageable if you sail main-only.

Laser Bahia is very similar to the RS Quest

Topper Argo is very similar to the Laser Bahia

Beneteau First 14 could work, you even have two daggerboard trunks for when you change your center of effort with the jib and kite, VX Evo is in a similar vein and you can get a keel on the Evo, although it's pretty sporty.

Topaz Ranger looks like it might fit the bill but I've heard nothing about it.

How do you feel about Scows? An MC or a C scow could work.

How do you feel about Cats? Hobie Getaway?

There's an existing Rhodes 19 fleet...

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Advice on a single/double handed beach dinghy

"There was a thread in November on a similar topic, though looking at European boats, rather than American ones. My thoughts then on "dual purpose" dinghies are as relevant, though:

 IMHO, getting a dinghy, especially a quick one, that does 1-up & 2-up well is hard.   If you think about it, the boat relies on crew weight to keep it upright and you are planning to double (or halve) that critical parameter but keep good performance... it's a lot to ask."


 OTOH? A Flying Fifteen could work.  Lovely to sail, plenty to keep a single-hander busy and room for a couple of friends. Best moored or maybe drysailed, if circumstances permit. Draft is 2'6"... is that a problem? 



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Ft Lauderdale
I just listed my Johnson 18 Turbo on the SA Classifieds.  I set it up to singlehanded or double hand.  Self tacking jib added. Very versatile sail plan to cover all wind speeds   Very stable hull form and and easy to sail.


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Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
Eastern NC
I just listed my Johnson 18 Turbo on the SA Classifieds.  I set it up to singlehanded or double hand.  Self tacking jib added. Very versatile sail plan to cover all wind speeds   Very stable hull form and and easy to sail.

View attachment 344198
The Johnson 18 was an awesome boat. It's a shame it either never caught on, or got the bugs worked out of it by some non-scowbillies.

FB- Doug



New member
There isn't any magic or silver bullets here. A big miss on your input here is your weight. It really sounds like you are destined to multi hulls or lead.



Sorry to have been away from this for so long. Thanks for all the responses, and I will now try to address each on in order. (Proof that procrastination does not really pay off.)

European Bloke: Thanks for the “little speed” comment. The Venture looks kind of dull, but sail area made me think it could move.

onepoint, WGW, and martin: When I said “smaller” I was comparing to a Sonar. So the Venture is not too big by my standards. The Raider was 16’, but not comfortable for me. The smaller boats, like vx evo look great, but I don’t want too much hiking. Another thing I don’t want is to be too wet, so Weta is out. I know I’m being really picky. I am completely open to a cat or trimaran though.

K9: I will try to read up on the Johnson 18. I can’t always get to the SA Classified. Any suggestions?

Firefly and Alan: Thanks, two more to learn about. I realize speed and relative comfort are often mutually exclusive, and I know I’ll have to weigh them against each other in any final decision. For more insight into my thinking, I have owned a 1974 Lotus Europa twice, for a total of over 25 years. No one ever called them comfortable.

WCB: Thanks for the link to SA Classifieds

JimBowie: once again I have to wimp out. 

Joshua: I think you have nailed the direction I should go. I weigh just over 160 pounds. (Played rugby for 110 years at 180#) 

There was some discussion of a bulb for the EVO, but don’t know the outcome of that. Probably still too wet for me, but would be less “athletic”.

Thanks again to all.

Europa, You should probably narrow down your search. Sailboats, like women, are always a compromise. Figure out the FEW things that are most important to you and then find the boat that provides them. You will drive yourself crazy if you continue to try to put too many qualities in one boat. I too am no teenager ( now age 70 ). I settled on a boat that I have bad-mouthed for at least 20 years. I bought a Hobie Wave and have enjoyed it every time I go out. Very stable, no hiking, fairly dry, indestructible and EASY. You get maximum sailing for minimum work. I'm either getting lazier or smarter or both. Happy Sailing! 




I just went through the same decision process last fall and ended up with a Seascape 18, now the Beneteau First 18. Couldn't be happier with my choice. There is a Seascape 18 thread in the Sportboat forum. We are roughly the same demographic with what sounds like the same requirements in a boat, plus we have both owned a Lotus Europa in our past!



What an amazing coincidence. I picked up my original Europa at the factory when I was stationed in the navy at Rota, Spain. I got out of the service while I was there and traveled 10k miles in Europe, with my tent and sleeping bag, before shipping it home. I put it in storage in 1982 when we moved to Saudi Arabia. I then sold it when we moved from KSA to Vermont with two kids under age two in 1985. 
I bought a second Europa in 2000, after surviving surgery and radiation for prostate cancer. The new one was only 181 serial numbers from the original. It is currently having the engine rebuilt.

Now, on to sailboats. The Seascape 18 and maybe the Far East 18R/19R are high on my list if I choose to go larger than dinghy size. And I think that would be the best way to go fast and be comfortable. My research shows that both can be single handed. Do you use your’s much that way?



Half the time I SH and the other half DH with my wife. I have both the standard assym and the smaller gennaker which is nice for when the wind us up and by myself. I've owned all types of boats between Laser and Sunfast 3200 and this boat is for me a perfect combination of larger boat comfort and speed/responsiveness/simplicity of a dinghy. As I said, I couldn't be happier with this boat. Incredibly easy to ramp launch/retrieve with the swing keel. No messing with keel cranes as I've had to do with Melges 24 and U20s. My old Sunfast 3200 sold me on dual rudders and fat asses and that design on the Seascape 18/First 18 contributes to it being such a great SH boat. Of course the deck mounted spinnaker sock and retrieval line also makes SH a breeze. A Torqeedo 1103 completes the simplicity of the boat. Coincidentally, my boat came from your neck of the woods in Maine last October. Not many used (decent), Seascape 18 in North America so you will probably need to go the First 18 route. Pricing is reasonable and by the time you get everything you'll be around $40k. A decent Seascape 18 will be near $30k, if you can find one (I got the last one!), so an extra $10k for a new boat is reasonable. If I hadn't found my boat I was already working on a new First 18. 

As for Europas, your experience has been better than mine. I owned a 1971 Europa SE back in 1976 and it's the only car I ever totaled. Still feel sick about it today, but hey, I was a dumbass 19 year old at the time. I have a 1971 911 I've restored and as fun as it is to drive, it doesn't compare to the thrill of driving a Europa. But at least with the 911 I don't have to remove my shoes to clear the pedals!


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